The Best Travel Backpacks of 2022

Travel with all of your essentials neatly packed in one compact bag with one of these top travel backpacks.

By Tony Carrick | Updated Aug 1, 2022 1:57 PM

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Best Travel Backpack Options

Photo: unsplash.com

With capacities of 40 liters or more and sizes that fit within airline carry-on requirements, travel backpacks can hold all the necessities for short business trips or extended sightseeing tours across Europe. Many travel backpacks come with numerous pockets and are convertible, allowing you to wear them as a backpack or carry them as a suitcase or duffel bag. Padded straps and durable materials also resist tearing, abrasions, and water.

If you’re looking for one of these handy traveling companions, read on to learn about the characteristics to consider when shopping, and don’t miss these recommendations for some of the best travel backpacks on the market.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Asenlin Travel Backpack
  3. BEST LARGE-CAPACITY: Yorepek Extra Large Travel Backpack
  4. BEST FOR MEN: Witzman Travel Backpack Canvas Rucksack
  5. BEST FOR WOMEN: Dinictis 40L Laptop Backpack
  6. BEST FOR WORK: Inateck 40L Travel Backpack
  7. BEST FOR CAMERAS: Caden Camera Backpack Bag
  8. BEST CARRY-ON: Hynes Eagle Travel Backpack
  9. BEST WHEELED: Matein Wheeled Backpack
  10. BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: Venture Pal 40L Lightweight Packable Backpack
Best Travel Backpack Options

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Travel Backpack

Whether searching for the best weekend backpack or backpacks for traveling the world, it’s crucial to find one with a proper fit that fulfills the storage requirements you need, whether carrying a laptop, a set of camera lenses, or a week’s worth of clothing.

Size and Capacity

When it comes to travel backpacks, it’s best to have something lightweight that will hold the essentials without overloading you with a bulky bag and an unwieldy amount of weight. A good travel size is in the 35- to 45-liter range.

This provides travelers with enough space to carry multiple changes of clothes, toiletries, a laptop, a wallet, keys, snacks, and a water bottle. If they need more than just the essentials, they can consider going a bit larger to a 50-liter capacity. For shorter trips, a smaller daypack with a capacity of between 20 and 35 liters will do. Most travel backpacks come in different sizes to suit different heights.

Weight

On average, travel backpacks weigh between 2 and 3 pounds, with some lightweight packs weighing under a pound. Although this may not sound like a lot of weight, consider that just a few pounds can make a difference if your travels involve walking for miles each day. The max weight of a travel backpack depends on who is carrying it. A 40-liter bag should be able to hold roughly 15 percent of the user’s weight. For example, an adult who weighs about 160 pounds should be able to carry about 25 pounds comfortably in a 40-liter bag.

Backpacks use adjustable straps to balance the weight on the user’s shoulders and to keep the weight as flush to their back and spine as possible. Many feature an additional strap that runs across the chest to keep the shoulder straps in place. Some travel backpacks also feature waist straps that distribute weight onto the hips.

Loading Type

When it comes to choosing a backpack, there are two options: a front-loading or a top-loading pack. Top-loading packs have a wide mouth that opens at the top. This style makes it easier to open the bag and access items on the go, such as while sitting in a busy airport. However, it makes it more challenging to access all of the items in the bag and harder to pack in an organized fashion.

Front-loading backpacks function like suitcases. They feature a long zipper that spans three sides of the bag. To load them, users should place the bag flat on the floor, then pack the entire bag as they would a suitcase. This clamshell backpack design allows access to all of the contents in the bag more easily.

The flip side is that this style can make it a little awkward to open in public. For example, retrieving a laptop may require travelers to display their three-day supply of underwear. Using travel cubes inside the pack or selecting a backpack with multiple internal or external pouches can help shoppers avoid this scenario.

Strap Types

Many travel backpacks are convertible to meet diverse traveling needs, ranging from hiking down a narrow trail through a mountain pass to walking through crowded airports. They feature thickly padded shoulder straps for wearing the bag as a backpack. Some straps even have memory foam that conforms to the shape of wearers’ shoulders. These straps are adjustable, allowing users to fine-tune the fit for maximum comfort.

Some backpacks also feature handles on the top and sides and removable shoulder straps that allow wearers to carry these bags as a rucksack or duffel bag. Some travel backpacks feature straps on the back that allow users to hang items such as a water bottle or even a hiking pole from the pack.

Gear Pockets

Most travel backpacks have numerous pockets to help keep items organized. Some packs include as many as 20 pockets of varying sizes. This includes small front pockets for wallets, keys, smartphones, and other frequently used items as well as side pockets for water bottles and snacks. Many include special internal pockets for laptops and other devices. Some include waterproof pockets for separating damp items such as a swimsuit or towel from the rest of the gear.

Zippers

Zippers are a vital component of a travel bag. They need to be sturdy enough to hold up to heavy loads and significant amounts of stress and repeated use. Good-quality backpacks feature durable metal zippers with explosion-proof teeth, meaning they won’t split apart under pressure.

Fit

Most travel backpack models are made in different sizes to fit different length torsos. Male-specific backpacks will generally be longer than female-specific backpacks. Smaller travel backpacks for kids will be much shorter, with narrower shoulder straps and a smaller capacity. Shoppers should make sure to check the sizing chart from the manufacturer to determine if the size is right for their torso before making a purchase.

Design

Travel backpacks fall into two different design categories. Adventure-style travel backpacks follow the look and feel of hiking or backpacking packs. They feature lightweight materials, bright colors, and numerous exterior loops and pockets for attaching items, fitting water bottles, or attaching bedrolls. They are typically top loading and have a more streamlined shape.

Other travel backpacks seek to mimic the shape of a suitcase. They are boxier than packs with top-loading designs and feature multiple handles that allow them to function as both a backpack and a traditional duffel bag. While they are more versatile, they aren’t as streamlined or ergonomic as top-loading backpacks.

Weather Resistance

How well a travel backpack resists water can be critical, especially if users are carrying around an expensive laptop. While backpacks with longer zippers may add convenience, they will also make the pack more susceptible to rain than those with smaller openings.

Most travel backpacks use weather-resistant fabric to protect gear from light rain. Some travel backpacks include a waterproof pocket that keeps items such as a smartphone protected from the rain. If keeping gear dry is a necessity, consider purchasing a pack that comes with a waterproof rain fly that will cover the entire pack should it start pouring.

Our Top Picks

This guide rounds up some of the best backpacks that feature solid construction, numerous pockets for organization, and versatility for different types of travel. Check out our recommendations and reviews for a variety of popular travel backpacks.

Best Overall

Best Travel Backpack Options: Osprey Farpoint 40 Men's Travel Backpack
Photo: amazon.com

When it comes to backpacks, it’s hard to find better thought-out designs than what Osprey creates. The Farpoint 40 is no exception. With its 40 cubic liters of space, it features plenty of room for extra clothing, maps, and smart devices as big as a 15-inch laptop. That space doesn’t help much if users have to dump the bag to find what they need. This is where the Farpoint excels. This bag features a large zipper that gives travelers access to the bulk of the compartment and a zippered mesh patch inside along with a large zipper and three external compartments on the front, bottom, and top.

Dual compression straps allow users to cinch this bag to secure the load, while heavy padding on the straps adds comfort for long treks. Side mesh pockets are perfect for water bottles. Understanding that security is a concern, the Farpoint features lockable sliders to prevent others from unzipping the pack.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 40 liters
  • Dimensions: 21 inches long by 14 inches wide by 9 inches deep
  • Weight: 3.3 pounds

Pros

  • Ample space
  • Numerous compartments and pockets
  • Dual compression straps
  • Carry-on size

Cons

  • Expensive

Get the Osprey travel backpack on Amazon.

Best Bang For the Buck

Best Travel Backpack Options: Asenlin 40L Travel Backpack
Photo: amazon.com

With its organizing cubes, this travel backpack offers excellent value. In addition to a sizable 40-liter pack, this set also includes three smaller bags of varying sizes. The smallest bag keeps small items like razors, toothpaste, and other toiletries organized, while a larger bag can accommodate shirts, pants, and other clothing.

These packing cubes fit neatly inside the larger backpack. Compression straps keep items secure to prevent annoying shifts in weight. Dual handles on the top and side as well as shoulder straps that fold into the pack allow travelers to convert this bag into a handsome suitcase. Tough Oxford cloth and explosion-proof zippers ensure this bag will hold up for many journeys.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 40 liters
  • Dimensions: 18.5 inches long by 12.5 inches wide by 9.5 inches deep
  • Weight: 2.7 pounds

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Comes with packing cubes
  • Made from durable Oxford cloth

Cons

  • Shoulder strap padding can cut into shoulders

Get the Asenlin travel backpack on Amazon.

Best Large-Capacity

Best Travel Backpack Options: YOREPEK Backpacks for Men
Photo: amazon.com

Yorepek packs a lot into this vacation backpack at a price that’s a fraction of the cost of others, making it one of the top cheap travel backpacks. This well-designed pack features 20 pockets of varying sizes for fitting a full-size laptop, clothes, notebooks, toiletries, and more. One of its cooler features is a USB port that allows travelers to use a battery-powered charger from the inside to charge a smartphone on the outside.

Padded adjustable straps add comfort, while U-shaped padding on the back allows air to pass through for ventilation. This bag is made of high-density nylon that resists water, ensuring that gear will stay dry even in an unexpected rain shower. With air travel in mind, this bag unfolds 180 degrees to facilitate trips through airport TSA checkpoints. This travel bag comes in 17-inch and 18-inch sizes in six color options.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 50 liters
  • Dimensions: 18 inches long by 13.5 inches wide by 6.5 inches deep
  • Weight: 2.7 pounds

Pros

  • Numerous pockets for organizing
  • USB charging port
  • Unfolds for TSA checkpoints

Cons

  • Not as durable as more expensive travel backpacks

Get the Yorepek travel backpack on Amazon.

Best For Men

Best Travel Backpack Options: WITZMAN Men Travel Backpack Canvas Rucksack Vintage Duffel Bag
Photo: amazon.com

Carry your gear in vintage style with this canvas rucksack from Witzman. It’s hard to dislike this pack’s aesthetics, which resemble the travel-style rucksacks of the early 20th century. This pack is anything but obsolete, however. It features a large internal pocket for a laptop in addition to roomy external pockets for organization. Numerous smaller pockets offer convenient places to stow pens, keys, and other small belongings. A large side pocket provides enough room for a water bottle (or canteen if you’re keeping it vintage). It’s made of durable polyurethane leather and heavy-duty cotton canvas. Padded mesh shoulder straps make heavier loads easy on the shoulders.

This bag also is convertible, morphing from backpack to stylish shoulder bag or tote bag thanks to shoulder straps that tuck inside a pocket and an optional shoulder strap. This bag comes in 18.5-inch and 20-inch sizes.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 40 liters
  • Dimensions: 22.5 inches long by 14 inches wide by 7 inches deep
  • Weight: 3.1 pounds

Pros

  • Attractive vintage look
  • Numerous internal and external pockets for organization
  • Durable canvas and leather construction

Cons

  • Limited access to the main compartment

Get the Witzman travel backpack on Amazon.

Best For Woman

Best Travel Backpack Options: Dinictis 40L Carry on Flight Approved Travel Laptop Backpack
Photo: amazon.com

With a convenient design and smart looks, this roomy and cute travel backpack from Dinictis makes for a competent traveling partner. It features 40 liters of space and has the perfect dimensions for carry-on luggage, making this a valuable companion on flights. Its large three-sided opening allows users to lay this backpack flat and load it as they would a piece of luggage. Internal compression straps help with organization. Convenient pouches, including a waterproof interior pouch, allow for safe packing of leakable items such as creams, toothpaste, and makeup.

Two large front pockets offer additional organization, while handles on the top and side enable different carrying options. Thick sponge padding makes it easy on the hands and shoulders. This pack’s high-density polyester fabric resists water and scratches. This backpack is available in blue, black, and gray.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 40 liters
  • Dimensions: 19.6 inches long by 13.8 inches wide by 9.8 inches deep
  • Weight: 2.5 pounds

Pros

  • Sophisticated look
  • Waterproof interior pouch for toiletries
  • Durable polyester fabric
  • 3-sided opening for easier access

Cons

  • Laptop pocket on the outside of the bag can throw off weight balance

Get the Dinictis travel backpack on Amazon.

Best For Work

Best Travel Backpack Options: Inateck 40L Travel Backpack, Flight Approved Carry
Photo: amazon.com

With its smart but streamlined looks, high volume, anti-theft features, and convertibility, this backpack from Inateck is a worthy travel companion on business trips. Its dimensions meet airline requirements for carry-on luggage, and it features 40 liters of space, making it large enough to carry a 17-inch laptop along with a 13-inch laptop. The main pocket opens up completely, making it easy to access gear and convenient for trips through airport TSA checkpoints.

Use this bag as a backpack or tuck away the straps to convert it into a standard soft suitcase. A rain cover keeps belongings dry on wet days, while lockable zippers keep them secure. Multiple pockets of varying sizes allow for easy organization. There are small pockets built into the straps for commonly used items such as keys and credit cards.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 40 liters
  • Dimensions: 21.7 inches long by 13.4 inches wide by 7.9 inches deep
  • Weight: 2.5 pounds

Pros

  • Multiple pockets for different size items
  • Main pocket opens completely
  • Rain cover included

Cons

  • Front pockets are hard to fill when main compartment is full

Get the Inateck travel backpack on Amazon.

Best For Cameras

The Best Travel Backpack Option: Caden Camera Backpack Bag
Photo: amazon.com

This bag makes traveling with expensive camera equipment a little less anxiety-inducing. It features plenty of separate compartments for a camera, four lenses, flash, tripod, and even a 15-inch laptop in its spacious interior. These interior compartments can be rearranged to suit different needs. Seven layers of high-compression memory foam and a protective board line the interior, protecting expensive equipment from moderate shocks.

The waterproof high-density 900-denier polyester nylon exterior includes alloy zippers that resist rust. Additional features include mesh pouches for a water bottle and an umbrella as well as straps on the bottom that can hold a tripod. Shoulder straps feature thick padding for comfortably carrying heavy loads. This pack measures 14.2 inches long by 11 inches wide by 5.51 inches deep.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 23 liters
  • Dimensions: 14.2 inches long by 11 inches wide by 5.51 inches deep
  • Weight: 1.7 pounds

Pros

  • Multiple compartments for camera lenses
  • Rearrangeable compartments
  • Thick memory foam protects contents

Cons

  • Not as much capacity as other travel backpacks

Get the Caden camera travel backpack on Amazon.

Best Carry-on

The Best Travel Backpack Option: Hynes Eagle Travel Backpack
Photo: amazon.com

With its boxy shape that fits carry-on bag requirements, this travel backpack from Hynes Eagle is well suited for airline travel. It features a spacious interior with 40 liters of capacity and comes with packing cubes of various sizes that allow travelers to maximize the amount of clothing and gear they can fit inside the bag. Compression straps on the interior and exterior of the bag allow users to cinch it tight to secure the load during transport.

This pack allows travelers to convert it to a standard suitcase in seconds with shoulder straps that hide in an exterior compartment. A large front pocket with multiple slip pockets organizes smart devices, passports, and other essentials. This bag is available in a variety of colors.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 40 liters
  • Dimensions: 20.1 inches long by 13.4 inches wide by 9.8 inches deep
  • Weight: 2.5 pounds

Pros

  • Comes with packing cubes
  • Converts quickly to duffel
  • Multiple front pockets

Cons

  • Outer laptop pocket can make pack feel unbalanced

Get the Hynes Eagle travel backpack on Amazon.

Best Wheeled

The Best Travel Backpack Option: Matein Wheeled Backpack
Photo: amazon.com

Carrying a loaded-down backpack can get tiring, which is why it’s nice to be able to pull it when the opportunity presents itself. This 38-liter backpack features a stout set of tough, corner-mounted rubber wheels, allowing users to take a load off their backs when traveling over smooth surfaces. A 22-inch aluminum telescoping arm with a large ergonomic handle emerges from a zipper pouch at the top of the bag, allowing travelers to convert this backpack quickly to a rolling suitcase when in airports. Hard plastic corner guards and a rigid kickplate protect the bag when in rolling mode.

This bag also features multiple pockets for organization, including a large main pocket for clothing, two middle pockets that can fit a 15-inch laptop or books, and a small front organizer pocket for pens, keys, and smart devices. Plus, this pick has a small water-bottle compartment on the side. For added security, the metal zippers on each compartment come with lock loops. Tuckable mesh padded straps provide comfort while carrying the backpack, and the polyester fabric resists tearing and abrasions.

Product Specs 

  • Capacity: 38 liters
  • Dimensions: 19.6 inches long by 13 inches wide by 9 inches deep
  • Weight: 4.9 pounds

Pros

  • Functions as a backpack or rolling suitcase
  • Durable polyester fabric
  • Thick padding on shoulder straps; can be tucked away
  • Many pockets for storage

Cons

  • Smaller than other travel backpacks

Get the Matein travel backpack on Amazon.

Best Lightweight

Best Travel Backpack Options: Venture Pal 40L Lightweight Packable Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack
Photo: amazon.com

Weight can be an issue, especially if your travels involve miles of walking through busy airports or distant locales. Gear weighs enough without the backpack itself adding to it. This backpack from Venture Pal keeps things light thanks to its total weight of just 1 pound.

Despite being lightweight, this bag still boasts 40 liters of capacity. It features multiple compartments for organizing items, both large and small. It also has a designated wet pocket to either keep valuables dry or for storing wet items, such as a swimsuit or damp towels. Exterior straps keep gear compact to prevent items from shifting during movement. Tear-resistant nylon, metal zippers, and reinforced seams at pressure points add durability. Thick padding with breathable mesh makes carrying this bag over long distances comfortable on the shoulders. This bag comes in 11 design options.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 40 liters
  • Dimensions: 19.3 inches long by 12.3 inches wide by 6.3 inches deep
  • Weight: 1 pound

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Multiple compartments for organizing
  • Pocket for wet items

Cons

  • Thinner shoulder pads not ideal for heavier loads

Get the Venture Pal travel backpack on Amazon.

Our Verdict

With its well-thought-out pockets, durable construction, and ample space, the Osprey travel backpack is the ultimate travel backpack. Those looking for a more affordable option will want to consider the Asenlin travel backpack with its low price and convenient packing cubes.

How We Chose the Best Travel Backpack

We used several criteria to create our list of the top travel backpacks. A good travel backpack should be durable enough to endure the rigors of all kinds of travel, so we chose backpacks made from high-quality materials such as leather, canvas, and ripstop nylon with heavy-duty zippers. Since travel backpacks are frequently used for air travel, we chose models that are within the size restrictions for carry-on baggage while still having ample storage space.

Organization is key when it comes to travel; we selected backpacks with multiple compartments and pockets to suit everything from clothing to laptops to keys. A travel backpack should also be comfortable, so we looked for backpacks with cushioned shoulder straps and such features as chest straps and compression straps.

FAQs

If you’re still wondering which travel backpack is right for you, then it may help to check out the following answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

Q.How do you pack a travel backpack?

Pack a travel backpack so that the heaviest items are closest to your spine. This will make the bag more comfortable to carry. With that in mind, load heavy items first, and keep them toward the middle of the pack. For example, you should position a laptop in the bag so it lies flat against your back.

Ensure that items you frequently need during the day, such as a wallet, smartphone, or keys, are in a place that is easy to access. Once you’ve loaded the bag, make sure to use the compression straps to eliminate any slack or space in the bag. This will prevent items from shifting while you’re carrying the pack.

Q.How do you wash a travel backpack?

Never wash a backpack in the washing machine as it may loosen the seams or damage its protective coating. Instead, use warm water and a sponge to spot clean the pack. Hang it in a shady spot or inside to dry as drying in the sun can cause ultraviolet (UV) rays to fade the material.

Q.What size backpack can you take on a plane?

While airlines set their carry-on size restrictions, most will not allow a carry-on bag to exceed 22 inches long by 14 inches wide by 9 inches deep.

Q. What size backpack do I need for a 10-day trip?

If you’re frugal about what you pack and the amount of clothing you need to take with you, most people can get by with a 40-liter backpack. For those who can’t bear to part with certain amenities or require a larger wardrobe, a 45-liter or even 50-liter pack should suffice.

Q. What is a good size bag for a day trip?

Daypacks can be significantly smaller as you don’t need all of the gear and supplies that come with overnight trips, such as a change of clothes and toiletries. Most daypacks have about a 15-liter capacity.